Monthly Archives: August 2019

BELL LAP

Scurrying around the Bar None like a chicken with its head cut off, busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest, etc.  Two Men & A Truck will be here this time tomorrow.  Linda and I have moved the lock, stock, and barrel, they’ll do the heaviest of lifting.  Our previous lives will be in storage tomorrow afternoon.  Closest and dearest the last six and one  half years we’ve spent building the Bar None.

The adventure begins in earnest then tomorrow night, first of many in the RPod.  Sixteen foot cubicle of discovery, within and  without.  And  Desi makes three.

 

STONED AGAIN

I was running some fields out behind Joliet Jr. College in 1991 and noticed what seemed to be a wall, overgrown with weeds (worst case of poison ivy ever, but that’s another tale).  I ran up and inspected the nearly quarter mile “structure” and found it to be a massive amount of field stones.  Had my eye on some nice pieces of granite.   Another run about a month later some cat was tossing rocks into the back of  a pickup.  I queried and was told the stones were cleared from the surrounding fields by Confederate prisoners during the Civil War.  Dude owned the property and had just sold it to developers (now called Rock Run, how sweet).  Said the new owners were going to dig a big hole and bulldoze them in, invited me  to get as many as I could in the next week.  So I did.  Hundreds.  Hardscaped the house and it looked boss.

Headed to Texas in 1992, the moving company HQ out of Minnesota called and asked what the heck was with the  request to move a couple dozen of the biggest and best.  My reply, “They’re historical artifacts.”  So they did.  All the way to temporary digs in Clute, Tx.  Then on to Lake Jackson, Tx.  And then Cypress, TX.  And on up to my former swanky digs in West O is the Best O.  And you guessed it, out to the Bar None.  I swore it was their last move.

Until yesterday.  I’ve spent the last two days picking out the ones these feeble old arms can still manage and moving to interim storage out at the 2Lazy2 Ranch.  Where there’s a Will there’s a Way.

Meaning they have one more, and this time I mean it (!), move to our next landing spot.

These clock in around 200 pounds.

This one and its twin around 350.  I’m getting too old for such shenanigans!

 

ADIOS EL REY

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.   Of our two cats King was the burly brother, always protecting fragile little sister Natalie.  Slayer of voles, moles, rabbits, squirrels, every feathered creature excepting even the tiniest of our annual order of chicks.  Bold, pushing up to more than brushing up against, loud motor insisting on attention.  The real boss of the Bar None, even taming Desi to the point that they were best friends.

“El Rey”, the best gato ever.  We buried him this  morning, almost certainly the  victim of some type of poisoning.  Only 8 days before our move, poignant and sad.  Tender little Natalie will miss you terribly, Linda and I equally so,  Desi whining for you at this morning’s gate.

Life on the farm.  Sometimes it is just heartbreaking.

 

KILLER COACH

I’m re-running this column from November of 2011.  A heady time when Team Nebraska Brooks had two sub 4 minute milers and a  soon to be USA Olympic Trials Steeplechase qualifier.   This is what type of coaching and training is necessary to become a national class runner.

Glen van der Westhuizen, aka Killer Coach,  is a renowned coach and father of Omaha’s own world class miler, Peter. Glen was kind enough to answer 9 questions for me yesterday. Enjoy.

Will: Glen, all of us in Nebraska know your son as a World Class Miler. Most may not know that you have been his coach, am I right in saying his entire running career?

Glen: Yes. He started running at the age of 11 and didn’t really look as if he had any talent, but his perseverance has paid off!

Will: Does Peter enjoy something of a celebrity status in South Africa? Our 1500 guys and gals enjoy a nice share of the limelight stateside.

Glen: Other than the awe that other athletes look at him with, his status is rather low-key. When he steps on the track, however, the big names in South African athletics as well as the journalists, sit up and take notice.

Will: We met briefly when you were in the country for Peter & Michaela’s wedding. I was struck by your own rugged fitness and impressed by some of your credentials. Can you share one or two highlights from your competitive career?

Glen: If you thought you train hard at this stage, then I might boggle your mind when I tell you that when I was in the best shape of my Comrades Marathon career, I trained 150 miles per week (240 km) which included speed sessions. I managed to complete the 90Km race in 7 Hours 12 minutes which was my best in this race, earning me a silver medal. This placed me in 366th position out of approximately 16,000 athletes. To receive a silver medal, one has to complete the race in less than 7 hours and 30 minutes. The main highlight of my personal career is participating for South Africa in the ITC World Duathlon Championships in Hobart, Tasmania during 1994 where I finished in 34th position. At that stage I was running 130 km (81 miles) per week and cycling 530 km (329 miles) a week including speed sessions. This equates to 260 km per week running if the ratio of 4km cycle = 1 km run is applied. This was achieved while holding down a fulltime teaching position.

Will: You have been working with Team Nebraska for a few years now. Our mates Shannon Stenger, Paul Wilson, & Mike Beattie rode your training to Great Heights back in 2008-2009. You’re now working with David Adams and Luka Thor among several others. I’m guessing the reward for your volunteering is watching each and every athlete approach their own potential. We thank you for that. How many athletes, if any, do you coach in your native South Africa?

Glen: I have 75 athletes ranging from 60m sprinters (7 years old) to 100 km Ultra marathoners (63 years old) in my private training group. I also have a group of 35 school athletes that I coach directly after school that ends at 14H00. I have a group of 7 athletes that I coach by e-mail in South Africa as well.

Will: You are helping a lot of us prep for the USA Club XC National Championships in Seattle on Dec. 10th. Five of us are masters runners with me being the oldest at 54. I’ll have to say that this is the most speedwork I’ve ever attempted in my 35+ years of running. We look at the workouts, gasp in horror, get after them, and get faster each week. Every one of us. What if anything is your secret, or defining philosophy if you will?

Glen: The most important component of any training program is balance. If the balance is right then the injuries and sicknesses are minimal. The balance in my program has a large foundation of distance that gradually introduces strength, muscle endurance, speed endurance and eventually pure speed the closer one approches the desired target race. The human body can physiologically only peak for a maximum of 8 weeks and on a wing and a prayer have it extended to 10 weeks. To reach the optimum peaking period, I revert to the developmental phase of the human body of 6 weeks and have achieved great results with this.

Will: Do you have anyone that you would consider a coaching mentor? Any early influences that led you to find your own way?

Glen: My main mentor was my previous coach Don Peckitt who now resides in his native UK. When he left South Africa he taught me his coaching system. Even though having a healthy respect for his knowledge and ability, I still had questions regarding components of training that I didn’t do. This included core training, weight training, rhythm work, nutrition, plyometrics and psychological preparation. After developing my method of coaching, I was introduced to the Lydiard method and Harry Wilson philosophy and noticed some remarkable similarities.

Will: What are the plans for Peter as London 2012 approaches? Does South Africa utilize a selection system similar to the US, i.e. a single race championship? What kind of time frame is there and sure we’re all sending our best to Peter as he pursues his spot.

Glen: Peter has to follow a specific criteria set out for all athletes by our governing body Athletics South Africa. He needs to participate in some of our premier events, called the Yellow Pages series as well as the ASA National championships. He also has to qualify according to time and the IAAF standard. Sometimes the ASA qualifying standard is more stringent than the IAAF standard. The plans for Peter is to medal at the Olympics. That is the goal. If his goal is anything less, then he need not make the trip. A slogan of the group is ” If you aim at nothing…. You will hit it every time”

Will: David Adams is also looking to have a breakthrough 2012 with the prize being a berth on the US Olympic Steeplechase squad. I’ve seen some great improvement in just the last 10 weeks, do you consider him to be a diamond in the rough amidst the cornfields of Nebraska?

Glen: Yes, David and *Megan both are aiming at qualifying for the US Olympic team and I have no doubt that they have the potential to achieve their goals. I feel they are more than Diamonds in the rough and will stake a solid claim to those few illusive Olympic team berths. There are however other athletes that also have these aspirations in the back of their minds who I also believe could raise a few eyebrows come trial day namely Luka and Matt. In South Africa there are two of my athletes also vying for Olympic selection. Tlou Seloba in the 800m and Richard Breukel in the 400m and possibly 100m relay team.

Will: Thanks for taking time with us today Glen. Any final thoughts or parting wisdom you’d care to share?

Glen: Thank you for the opportunity you have afforded me to work with such a fine group of all your athletes. I know that the results that the team will achieve at the Cross Country Club Nationals will be phenomenal due to the effort you put in. Just remember that the person who quits last is the person who wins the race!!! Good luck to all who will race these champs. My final quote and I’m sure those who are on Killercoach’s training program will agree……
” IF YOU WANT TO RUN WITH THE BIG DOGS THEN YOU CAN’T PEE LIKE A PUPPY!”

VALLEY DAYS FUN RUN RESULTS

Huge thanks to the City of Valley, Valley Days Coordinator Cindy Grove, our sponsors Lifestyle Fitness and the Twin Rivers YMCA, and our host The Valley 7 Lakes Marathon-America’s Marathon!

Over 50 kids ran either the 200 meters or 400 meters.  All were treated to a free entry, T-shirts and medallions courtesy of our  sponsors.  There were also 39 finishers in Nebraska’s only Metric Mile.  All individual age performances are new Nebraska State Records!  Sam Runde of Nebraska Run Guru Elite led all finishers for the fellas, Angee Nott showed the way for the ladies.  Big tip of the sombrero to Club 402 for coming out in force!

1500 meter results:

  1. Sam Runde             4:43.75
  2. Tim Fry                    4:51.31
  3. Mike Bickley           4:53.05
  4. Matt Pohren           4:59.28
  5. Jack Runde              5:09.46
  6. Porter Bickley         5:12.96
  7. Jack Witte                5:17.51
  8. Angee Nott             5:19.87
  9. Eli Bickley               5:38.54
  10. Nolan Clausen       5:51.47
  11. Whitney Haase      5:52.65
  12. Isaac Ulrich            6:12.31
  13. Lucas Bartholomew  6:15.76
  14. Madison Scott       6:18.64
  15. Korban Fry             6:29:24
  16. Jack Steinbach       6:40:13
  17. Kyra Fry                  6:52.62
  18. Jason Bartholomew  6:54.65
  19. Kyp Ayer                 7:37.74
  20. Xavier Ulrich          7:44.47
  21. Jessica Ulrich         7:45.35
  22. Abigail Bartholomew  9:06.40
  23. Matt Scott              9:56.98
  24. Marc Kelly              9:57.98
  25. Rosey Krauel         10:52.97
  26. Molly Scott            10:59.87
  27. Amber Wiley         11:08.29
  28. Lilly Kelly                11:09.91
  29. Elliott McClintock  11:39.39
  30. Kelsey Wiedel        12:49.03
  31. Jessica Thompson  12:51.65
  32. Kelly Kostszewa      13:45.23
  33. Zach Scott                14:01.10
  34. Brittany Scott           14:01.84
  35. Sarah McClintock     14:16.79
  36. Spencer McClintock  14:18.38
  37. Kristy Scott                 15:36.82
  38. Lauren Apking            18:34.00
  39. Hayden Apking           18:34.01

(S)HITS OMAHA MARATHON

I’ve spent nearly 20 years railing against the state of marathoning in Nebraska.  Have held the highest standard and expectations for our running community.  Based on 40 years experience in our sport, at all levels.

Sidewalks, curbs, t-shirts and medals not matching the distance, poorly designed courses, lack of volunteers and signage (Wintheiser Phenomenon), untrained volunteers, misplaced cones, inaccurate B.S. descriptions (Flat and Fast!!!).

Nebraska deserves better.  And you’ll get it next April 25, America’s Marathon-Valley 7 Lakes.

Back to today’s rant.  If you are registered for next month’s HITS Omaha Marathon I want to express my sincerest apologies.  Especially if you are coming in from out of state or from our Good Life hinterlands.  This marathon takes the easy way out and in no way reflects the  best (not even close) of what Omaha can/could/should offer.  Here’s why:

I spent 4 hours last Friday as the second bike for the USATF Certification measurement.  Got a first hand tour of what the group out of Saugerties, NY is claiming as Omaha’s  Marathon.  The course being tweaked to eliminate the finish  inside TD Ameritrade Park, moving it to the parking lot just adjacent.  I wish they would have redesigned much, much more.

The tour starts out decent enough, heading up Capitol to Florence Blvd and Minne Lusa Blvd.  Highlighting some stately, some dilapidated homes, the smell of reefer wafting from the latter, at 9 in the morning, Wake & Bake!  It was when we turned onto Shirley St. that the course goes straight to hell.  The street so pocked with potholes that you hardly notice the accumulation of trash, dirty diapers, detritus, flotsam and jetsam.  I really hope Mayor Jean gets the road repaired or your racing flats are in for one hell of a ride.

Once you leave the mean streets you hop on the sidewalk called Riverfront Trail.  4 X 4 foot squares of concrete, open to the public, taking you behind OPPD on the right and huge belching stacks on your left.  The Missouri River separating the two as it collects discharge from both entities.  Heavy petroleum odors assaulting your sense of smell for miles.

Into Levi Carter Park where you’ll be greeted by derelicts, homeless and sundry other shady characters.  I didn’t feel safe passing some of same sitting in their cars doing any manner of no good deeds.

Make the U-Turn and run the course in reverse back to the stadium.  Good luck trying to weave and sweave through the runners possessing less fortitude and speed.

So there you have it!  The (S)HITS Omaha Marathon.  If you run it and are as disappointed as I think you will be, shoot me an email with your official finish time and we’ll work out a favorable arrangement to get you into Valley 7 Lakes next April.  originalrunguru@gmail.com Give us a chance to show you a completely closed country road, pancake flat, safe, cushy asphalt marathon.  America’s Marathon, Nebraska’s only Real Marathon in my opinion.  #ValleyStrong  #America’sMarathon #Valley7Lakes

 

 

 

FREEDOM IS JUST ANOTHER WORD

For nothin’ left to lose.
Nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but its free!

We are right on schedule for our Grand Lark.  T-minus 17 days until we are outta here!  Open Door Mission, Goodwill, Salvation Army, neighbors all on the receiving end of a life’s accumulation of stuff.  Outside of a few basic essentials the rest will remain on property.  Downsizing nearly complete.  We’ve even traded our 24′ Coachman camper for a more mobile 16′ RPod.  I’ve always romanticized the Vagabond Life.  Not beholdin to anyone or anything, save my Dear Sweet Linda.

Spit out La Leche de Madre in favor of  freedom of expression and speech.  Teams and programs gone by the by, small price to pay.  Leaving others attached to the teat of supposed entitlement.  Unaware or uncaring to blinding curds, stifling obedience justified through easy sustenance.

The more lost, the more liberated I and this column have become.  Nuthin’ aint worth nuthin’  but its free.

I’ve never wanted to be just like everyone else.  Have made a life of thumbing my nose at supposed authority and convention.

While on the road the major focus will be working on “Phineas Taylor and the Dandy Road Show Boys.”  Already a minor adjustment to the subtitle, from “A Romp Over Omaha” to “A Romp Over Nebraska.”

Would you have the balls?  To strike out and grab life with both hands?  To make it your own?  To be truly Free?

My Old Buddy Andre Lejeune stopped by yesterday.  Headed to Denver from the CrossFit World Championships in Madison, WI.  We attended Lamar University in the late 80s, fast friends  for over 30 years now.  He’s pals with Floyd Landis, the last American  to win the Tour de France.  Now in the business of helping others “Relax and Recover.”  Something to take on the road to  be sure!

 

 

 

RACE RESULTS SATURDAY

Logan Watley brought his Lincoln  Running Co. Racing team to this side of the Platte River for their first annual  “Distance Track Night.”  Omaha’s first legitimate post collegiate track meet since the 2012 USA Club T&F National Championships at Burke.  The intimate little meet at Elkhorn Middle School (my backyard) turned out to be the fastest men’s 5K in the Omaha Metro history.   LRC loaded up the fields, proving that competitive running and racing has not been completely forgotten in the 402 area code.

All the studs were there!  The gathered crowd was abuzz about Nolan Zimmer and Johnny Rutford, LRC’s two top fellas, looking to go sub 15 in the 5K.  The excitement was palpable.  An arranged pacer took the field through :70 1/4s for the first half before the favorites assumed their expected positions up front.  Perfect weather, USATF Sanctioned event, looked to be a very good night for the lads indeed.

It turned out to be the Race of the Year for your scribe.

Andy “Slinger” Vasquez hung around the back of the pack for the first couple miles then began picking off the “older” competition.  Was that really a Cornhusker Flyer kit?  Oh indeed!

With a mile to go I told those gathered round that “Youth Will Prevail!”  I was reminded that this was Johnny and Nolan’s race and that perhaps my bike crash earlier in the day had scrambled things a bit between my ears.  But as the laps clicked by Andy was the only lad left stuck to the big boys.

And then something  magical happened.  Something that absolutely made my day.  Before your panties get all bunched be reminded I am a fan of Real Racing and Real Competition.  And underdogs and lone wolves.   And of “Slinger” Vasquez, this Omaha Burke product,  born and raised right here,  The Cornhusker Flyer was unconcerned about his competition’s LRC pedigree, stayed glued to their backs.

Johnny, Nolan, and Andy  hit the bell lap together.  And then BAM!  A changing of the guard happened last night in Nebraska Distance Running Excellence!  Young Andy took off like a shot, as if the first 11 1/2 laps were a mere jog in fact.  He immediately put 20-30 meters on the more seasoned runners.  Pulled away quicker than Liberty Valance could unholster his six shooter (hence my new nickname “Slinger.”)

I  didn’t have a clock on the race but my  best guess was his final tour of the oval  was in the :63-:65 second range.  I can’t find published results but he was well under 15, Johnny and Nolan coming in around the 15:11 mark.

Nice running by everyone last night, but especially Andy “Slinger” Vasquez.  Not for the last time, Giddyup!